Thursday, July 11, 2013

Go-to-Gay: Home and Away

Introduction by
Tracey Meyers

Recently, I traveled back to Saugatuck, Michigan for a second writing retreat hosted by bestselling author, and CLC's Go-To-Gay, Wade Rouse.

I always look forward to my trips to the southwest coast of Michigan.  Unlike the hustle and bustle of my urban jungle, the coast thrusts me into a serene setting and forces me to slow down for a few days.  Sure, I've found these hiding places in my own little bubble I call home. However, unlike my world, the slower pace of  the coast is all around you and not just in a small nook where you go to hide for an hour or two.

During my time at the retreat, I took a walk on a path located on Wade and Gary's property.  At one point, I sat in a chair located on the path, closed my eyes and concentrated on being present in the moment. When I opened them I saw a plethora of beautiful trees in front of me.  My heart beat at a calm, steady pace and I felt thankful to have found such a place to relax.

I could go on and on about why I love this small corner of the Midwest so much, but I will let Wade share his thoughts on it instead.

Home and Away

I had never been to Saugatuck and Douglas, Michigan, touted as the “Fire Island of the Midwest" and the “Art Coast of Michigan.” But, as soon as I arrived, I became “smitten with the Mitten.”

Like my grandma, I believe that everyone has a place they dream of living, a nirvana, a heaven on earth, a place where – when you reach it – you feel it resonate in your soul: I have arrived! This is where I am supposed to be.

For some, it might be a lodge in the mountains, a hut snuggled next to the Caribbean, a loft in Manhattan, a country house in Tuscany, or a log cabin in the Ozarks. And yet, the majority of us hit such dream spots only a few times in our lives, during a week’s vacation.

The first time I arrived in Saugatuck and Douglas, I instantly knew my question had been answered, because the answer resonated in my soul: I have arrived. This is where I am supposed to be.

Where I found myself was a small town – with a big asterisk.

I found myself in “Gayberry”.

That’s what I instantly termed this little area on the west coast of Michigan, this mix of Mayberry RFD, Martha’s Vineyard, and San Francisco. It wasn’t the small towns I was familiar with or similar to the ones my partner, Gary, knew. In the summer, Saugatuck has a Hamptons feel, resorters flocking from nearby cities to the nostalgic little beach town to soak up its charms, shop in outstanding art galleries, and load up with blueberries and strawberries and peaches and apples at its picturesque U-Pick farms. 

Sauagtuck-Douglas is an artists’ colony located among Lake Michigan’s towering sand dunes. The neighboring towns sit along the Kalamazoo River and the waters of Lake Michigan. 

The beaches are among the most stunning in the United States, the summer air humidity-free, the vistas breathtaking. The towns are a throwback, complete with quaint, window-boxed cottages and whitewashed Victorianesque storefronts that bustle with activity, art galleries on part with the big cities’ best, and topnotch restaurants. It has survived modernization and thwarted the flirtations of big chains, like McDonald’s, to remain a Midwestern Martha’s Vineyard, a resort area with strip malls and billboards and tackiness.

Yes, the first time I arrived in Saugatuck-Douglas, I knew I had found more than a vacation destination. 

I knew I had finally found home.

Excerpted from Wade Rouse’s bestselling memoir, At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life (©Three Rivers Press).

The writings of bestselling humorist Wade Rouse – called “wise, witty and wicked” by USA Today and the lovechild of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris – have been featured multiple times on NBC’s Today Show as well as on Chelsea Lately on E! and His latest memoir, It’s All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine (reviewed here) launched in paperback February 1st from Broadway, and he is creator and editor of the humorous dog anthology, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales about Man’s Best from America’s Favorite Humorists (NAL). The book features a Foreword by Chelsea Handler’s dog, Chunk, essays by such beloved chick lit authors as Jane Green, and 50 percent of the book’s net royalties go to the Humane Society of the United States. His first memoir, America's Boy, has been re-published by Magnus Books for paperback and Kindle. For more, visit his website, or friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

1 comment:

Mary Jo Burke said...

My brother went to school in Holland. We took many trips to Sagatuck. Beautiful place!